Alongside the Big Guns
Rotorua-born actor Cliff Curtis, 40, has been in Los Angeles promoting his latest film, immigration drama, Crossing Over and re-shooting Eddie Murphy’s comedy A Thousand Words, in which Curtis stars as charismatic spiritual leader Dr Sinja. Curtis has played a range of ethnicities in Hollywood. In Crossing Over, he is Iranian-born American citizen Hamid Baraheri, a dedicated immigration enforcement agent. In the paranormal thriller Push, Curtis, with his lopsidedly handsome face and dancer’s grace, is a roguish mutant called Hook Waters. But in Crossing Over, he takes on a certain solid, weighty physicality as a good man at a moral crossroads, conveying integrity despite a terrific internal struggle. “It’s an excellent role. He’s also conflicted because he takes great pride in upholding the law. He’s an honorable guy,” he says. USA Today writes in a review of Crossing Over that “lesser-known actors such as Curtis … come across better than such veterans as [co-stars] Harrison Ford and Ray Liotta.” Curtis’ first feature film role was in the Oscar-nominated film The Piano.